Mardi Gras Dinner
BEFORE starting the roux, chop and put into a heavy pot like a Dutch oven:
4 cups onion
2 cups bell pepper
2 cups celery
1 tablespoon garlic
This is called the Trinity in Cajun cooking.
Set aside and wait for the roux.
MAKING THE ROUX
1 cup flour
1 cup fat (I use lard, tallow, or avocado oil, something like that)
Put in a stainless steel skillet (lots of people use cast iron, but I always use stainless steel). Over HIGH heat and using a wire whisk, stir the oil/flour combination until it's really, really brown. We like the roux to look like black coffee.
Immediately scrape the roux into the Dutch oven over the vegetables. This will slow down the cooking. Stir the roux into the vegetables.
Add to the Dutch oven about 8 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer. Simmer for at least an hour. I like to let mine go for longer.
At this point, I like to add at least ¼ cup of Joe's Stuff. This is a gumbo seasoning blend that they sell in New Orleans. You can buy it on amazon.com. You can google how to season gumbo, but this is the way I learned and we like this seasoning. I also use it in beans and other dishes – so it's not just for gumbo.
At this point you can add meats. (If you are making seafood gumbo, only add some of the seafood to flavor the gumbo at this time. If you add it all here, it will be overcooked.)
These are the two types of gumbo that my family loves:
Seafood: Add crabmeat (might as well use the leg meat here and save the lump crabmeat to add just before serving), and shrimp (we like to peel and devein our first). You could add fish or any seafood that your family likes. I like to add the leg meat of the crab and a few shrimp to flavor the gumbo. Then about 5 minutes before I serve it, I put in the lump crabmeat and the rest of the shrimp. That way the seafood is not overcooked. I also like to garnish each bowl with a crab claw if I can find them.
Chicken and Sausage: After the gumbo comes to a boil, you can add about 1 ½ pounds of cut-up andouille sausage (look for it in the sausage section – you really need this type), and the meat from a rotisserie chicken. This is my son's favorite.
Serve over rice. Garnish with sliced green onions. A nice green salad and a fresh French baguette makes a complete meal. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
PINA COLADA BREAD PUDDING
1 10 oz. loaf stale French bread, crumbled(or 6-8 cups any type bread)
pina colada mix (if the pina colada mix is sweet, you might want to skip the sugar - the one we had in class today had NO sugar added)
2 cups sugar (optional - see above)
8 tbsp. butter(1 stick), melted
2 tsp. almond extract
1 cup of crushed pineapple
1 cup of coconut (optional)
1 cup chopped almonds
Combine all ingredients. Mixture should be very moist, but not soupy. Pour into buttered 9″ x 12″ baking dish or larger. Place into non-preheated oven. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, until top is golden brown. Serve warm with sauce.
Rum Sauce (optional)
8 tbsp. butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup rum (to taste)
If you don't want to use rum, just add vanilla.
Cream butter and sugar over medium heat until all butter is absorbed. Remove from heat and blend in egg yolk. Pour in rum gradually to your own taste, stirring constantly. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve warm over bread pudding.
NOTE: For a variety of sauces, just substitute your favorite fruit juice or liqueur to compliment your bread pudding.
Makes 16-20 servings